ENJOY THE MOVIES
"We're still in Africa, right?" Film Movement has debuted an official US trailer for a film from Congo titled The Mercy of the Jungle, from Rwandan filmmaker Joël Karekezi. This initially premiered back in 2018 at the Toronto FIlm Festival, and is finally getting a US release this year. It also played at the 2019 Seattle Film Festival. The Mercy of the Jungle is a road movie that deals with wars in Congo through the eyes of two lost soldiers in the jungle by showcasing their struggle, weakness and hope. It tells the story of two Rwandan soldiers separated from their military unit at the beginning of the Second Congo War and their struggle to survive in a hostile jungle environment amidst intense armed conflict. Starring Marc Zinga and Stéphane Bak, with Ibrahim Ahmed "Pino", Nirere Shanel, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, and Michael Wawuyo. This looks like an impressively immersive film about the harrowing experiences of soldiers trying to survive.
"That happens to men when they go crazy. They run… until they can't anymore." Netflix has unveiled the official trailer for the Mexican indie drama titled Tragic Jungle, which first premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival. It also stopped by the San Sebastian, Hamburg, Busan, Warsaw, and New York Film Festivals last fall. Set in the 1920s in the Mayan jungle on the border between Mexico and Belize, the film is about a mysterious young Belizean woman. She encounters a group of Mexican gum workers. "Filled with new vigor, they face their destiny, without knowing that they have woken up Xtabay, a legendary being that lurks in the heart of the jungle." Netflix's description provides a somewhat different perspective: To escape an arranged marriage, a woman flees into the depths of the Mayan jungle, where untamed nature merges the human and the supernatural. The film stars Indira Andrewin, Gilberto Barraraza, Mariano Tun Xool, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, and Eligio Meléndez. I really dig the poster for this. It looks like an entrancing film.
"You said he was dead. Now he wants revenge." Netflix has dropped the full trailer for the Barcelona-set revenge action thriller titled Xtreme, also known as Xtremo in Spanish. Running away is not an option. Revenge is his only plan. This one starts streaming June 4th on Netflix. Two years after the murder of his son and his father, a retired hitman sets in motion a carefully crafted revenge plan against the killer: his own brother. This is directed by Barcelona-born filmmaker Daniel Benmayor, who states: "Just as signature Spanish horror was created in the past, with Xtremo we have the opportunity to create a Spanish standard of action films." The film stars Teo García, Óscar Jaenada, Óscar Casas, Andrea Duro, Luis Zahera, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Juan Diego, and Nao Albet. This looks so badass! Fast-paced, stylish, hard-hitting action. I'm in! Very curious to see how this turned out and if it's as good as the filmmakers promised.
"Someone might accuse you. Or maybe they alread yhave." Samuel Goldwyn Films has released an official trailer for an Argentinian thriller titled La Dosis, which just translates to The Dose in English. This first premiered at last year's Rotterdam Film Festival, and it also played at the BFI Flare, Bucheon, Heartland, and Fantasia Film Festivals last year. The title is a reference to the lethal "dose" that one nurse provides to various patients in need. Marcos is a nurse on the night shift at a clinic. Applied and professional, but with a secret: in some extreme cases, he applies euthanasia. Gabriel, a new night nurse at the clinic, soon unravels Marcos' secret with the confrontation leading to more trouble. Starring Carlos Portaluppi as Marcos, and Ignacio Rogers as Gabriel, plus Lorena Vega. Looks like an intriguing medical thriller from Argentina.
"Something strange happened some weeks ago…" Strand Releasing has debuted a new US trailer for Bad Tales, aka Favolacce in Italian, a dark drama from Italy from the filmmaking brothers Damiano & Fabio D'Innocenzo. This originally premiered at last year's Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay. The dark & strange film is about a few families living out on a limb in the suburbs of Rome. Tensions here can explode at any time; ultimately it's the children who bring about the collapse. But it’s the desperation and repressed rage of the children that will explode and cut through this grotesque facade, with devastating consequences for the entire community. “We want to investigate the communication breakdown in these families, immersed in the stagnancy of sterile routines, where perhaps only tragedies have the capacity to shake things up," said the directors. Bad Tales cast includes Elio Germano, Gabriel Montesi, Barbara Chichiarelli, Max Malatesta, Ileana D'Ambra, Lino Musella, Giulia Melilio, Justin Korovkin, and Tommaso Di Cola. Not my favorite from the festival, but it's definitely a very stylish film.
"What do you feel for me?" Altered Innocence has debuted the US trailer for the Belgian film Adoration, which originally premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2019, and also stopped by L'Étrange, Sitges, and Fantastic Fest that year. This is the final film of Fabrice du Welz's "Ardennes trilogy", following Calvaire (2004) and Alleluia (2014). The film follows shy 12-year old Paul who lives near a psychiatric institute. After an encounter with a young patient there, the troubled yet beautiful Gloria, he becomes infatuated and vows to protect her. Insisting doctors are holding her hostage for an inheritance the two escape and wreak havoc across the French countryside. Described as "a potent combination of violent thriller and romantic sexual awakening, du Welz masterfully captures the teenage intensity of 'amour fou' pairing perfectly with Manuel Dacosse's sumptuous 16mm photography." With Thomas Gioria & Fantine Harduin as Paul & Gloria, Benoît Poelvoorde, Anaël Snoek, Gwendolyn Gourvenec. "Bleeds horror into a yearning romance."
"There's only one plan. I'm going to kill them all." Netflix has unveiled an official teaser trailer for revenge action thriller titled Xtreme, also known as Xtremo in Spanish. Launching on Netflix this June. Two years after the murder of his son and his father, a retired hitman sets in motion a carefully crafted revenge plan against the killer: his own brother. Directed by Barcelona-born filmmaker Daniel Benmayor, he explains the concept: "Xtremo brings to Barcelona a genre of film rarely exploited in Spanish-speaking films. It will be a relentless action film with a spectacular cast that brings together renowned international actors with new talents and a technical team of the highest level that brings a new style to our cinema. Just as signature Spanish horror was created in the past, with Xtremo we have the opportunity to create a Spanish standard of action films." The film stars Teo García, Óscar Jaenada, Óscar Casas, Andrea Duro, Luis Zahera, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Juan Diego, and Nao Albet. This is actually a rather kick ass teaser! I'm sold.
"You aren't supposed to believe in these things." Netflix has debuted a new trailer for a ghost horror film from Thailand called Ghost Lab, streaming in the US and Thailand starting this May. After witnessing a haunting, two young doctors become dangerously obsessed with obtaining scientific proof that ghosts exist. Gla and Wee, played by Paris Intarakomalyasut and Thanapob Leeratanakajorn, two medical doctor buddies see a ‘ghost’ with their own eyes when an afterlife experiment goes wrong. The encounter spawns an insatiable desire to find a scientific explanation for ghostly spirits, and to find proof of the afterlife. Their fixation and reckless pursuit of unattainable knowledge will take them down a rabbit hole that might cost them their friendship, and their loved ones. Also starring Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich as Mai. This is a cool concept (reminds me of Flatliners), especially from a Thai filmmaker, it feels like there's a whole different vibe to this than what we're used to with horror. I dig it. Glad it will be launching on Netflix soon.
"Their battleship will lead directly to war." Well Go USA has released a new official trailer for the Japanese drama titled The Great War of Archimedes, which originally opened in Japan back in 2019. Everyone has heard of the anime Space Battleship Yamato, but have you heard the real story of the actual Yamato warship? It fought in WWII, then sunk in 1945. The Great War of Archimedes, based on the 2015 manga series “Archimedes no Taisen," is a dramatized depiction of the behind-the-scenes struggles of the Japanese Navy while building the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world, prior to WWII. The film is produced by Toho, and directed by Takashi Yamazaki - of Space Battleship Yamato, Stand by Me Doraemon, Dragon Quest: Your Story, and the most recent 3D CGI Lupin III: The First film (which he made after this but was released before this film). The film stars Suda Masaki, Emoto Tasuku, Hamabe Minami, Shofukutei Tsurube, Kobayashi Katsuya, and Hiroshi Tachi as Admiral Yamamoto. Take a look at the film below.
"An enigmatic and hypnotic modern fairy tale." IFC Films has released a new official US trailer for the German indie romance film titled Undine, from filmmaker Christian Petzold (of Barbara, Phoenix, and Transit). This originally premiered at last year's Berlin Film Festival, also where Paula Beer won the Silver Bear for Best Actress in this film. Beer stars as the titular Undine (based on the Undine myth), who works as a historian lecturing on Berlin's urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her… the ancient myth catches up with her. She must kill the man who betrays her and return to the water, but she also falls in love with him. Also with Franz Rogowski as her new lover, with Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz, Anne Ratte-Polle, and Rafael Stachowiak. It's a very sweet film about love, I wrote a little review of it.
"The place you're born… is the place that half-buries you." The Cinema Guild has debuted a new official US trailer for the acclaimed Chinese documentary Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, made by the prolific director Jia Zhang-Ke (aka Jia Zhangke), of A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, and Ash Is Purest White previously. This originally premiered at last year's Berlin Film Festival as one of the opening day films. Filmmaker Jia Zhangke chronicles his local literature festival in Shanxi, China which includes a multi-generational roster of the country's most esteemed writers. He speaks with three prominent authors from different eras, who discuss life growing up and the changes over time as the country (and their region) evolves and adapts to difficult times. Reviews describe the film as a "quietly moving" piece, paying "tribute to writers who connect modern urban culture to its provincial roots, and the current era to one that's quickly being lost to living memory." Highly recommend this one to any & all documentary lovers - it's worth a look.
"The more I think about it, the more I realize I can't." Kino Lorber has revealed an official trailer for Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof's anthology film There Is No Evil. The film won the Golden Bear at last year's Berlin Film Festival, a prestigious prize. It features four narratives, each one addressing variations on the crucial themes of moral strength and the death penalty that ask to what extent individual freedom can be expressed under a despotic regime and its seemingly inescapable threats. Starring Ehsan Mirhosseini, Shaghayegh Shourian, Kaveh Ahangar, Alireza Zareparast, and Salar Khamseh. After winning at Berlinale, I've heard nothing but great things about this film, but coming from Iran it's a tough look at how hard it is to exist and live in such an oppressive society. Reviews say the film "pulses with humor, romance and life. Rasoulof has turned filmmaking into an act of resistance… every tale breathes." Powerful praise. And the cinematography is stunning, too. This look even better than expected! It's definitely worth a watch.